Sclerosing Epithelioid Fibrosarcoma Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

What is Sclerosing Epithelioid Fibrosarcoma?

Sclerosing epithelioid fibrosarcoma (SEF) is a rare type of cancer that arises from fibrous connective tissue. It was first described in 1995 and has since been classified as a distinct type of fibrosarcoma due to its unique histological characteristics.

SEF is most commonly found in young adults, with a slight predilection for females. It usually arises in the deep soft tissues of the extremities, but can also occur in the trunk, head and neck region. SEF is a slow-growing tumor that tends to infiltrate surrounding tissues, making complete surgical excision challenging.

SEF is typically diagnosed through a combination of clinical examination, radiographic imaging, and histopathological analysis of a biopsy specimen. The tumor has a distinct appearance on imaging studies, often showing a solid, well-circumscribed mass with areas of calcification. Histologically, SEF is characterized by small, uniform, round cells arranged in nests or cords within a hyalinized stroma.

Sclerosing Epithelioid Fibrosarcoma Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment


The symptoms of sclerosing epithelioid fibrosarcoma (SEF) can vary depending on the location and size of the tumor. In some cases, SEF may not cause any symptoms until it grows to a size that compresses or invades nearby structures.

Common symptoms of SEF may include:

  • A painless lump or swelling in the affected area
  • Limited range of motion or stiffness in nearby joints
  • Numbness or tingling in the affected limb or body part
  • Weakness or loss of function in the affected limb or body part
  • Persistent pain that may worsen with activity or movement
  • Weight loss, fatigue, or other non-specific symptoms in advanced cases


The exact cause of sclerosing epithelioid fibrosarcoma (SEF) is not well understood. However, it is believed to arise from a genetic mutation or abnormality that leads to the uncontrolled growth of cells in fibrous connective tissue.

There is evidence to suggest that SEF may be associated with a genetic disorder called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), which is an inherited condition that increases the risk of developing polyps in the colon and rectum. Studies have found that individuals with FAP have an increased risk of developing SEF, particularly in the soft tissues of the extremities.

Other factors that may contribute to the development of SEF include exposure to radiation or certain chemicals, as well as trauma or injury to the affected area. However, the role of these factors in the development of SEF is not well established and more research is needed to understand the underlying causes of this rare cancer.


Diagnosing sclerosing epithelioid fibrosarcoma (SEF) typically involves a combination of clinical examination, radiographic imaging, and histopathological analysis of a biopsy specimen.

The diagnostic process for SEF may involve the following steps:

Medical history and physical exam

A healthcare provider will review the patient's medical history and perform a physical exam to assess the location, size, and characteristics of the tumor.

Imaging tests

Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, or PET scans may be used to visualize the tumor and evaluate its extent and location.


A biopsy is typically needed to confirm the diagnosis of SEF. During a biopsy, a small sample of the tumor tissue is removed and examined under a microscope by a pathologist to identify the presence of characteristic features of SEF.


Immunohistochemistry is a laboratory technique that uses specific antibodies to detect proteins or other markers in a tissue sample. It can help confirm the diagnosis of SEF and distinguish it from other types of tumors that may have similar characteristics.


The treatment of sclerosing epithelioid fibrosarcoma (SEF) typically involves a multimodal approach that includes surgical excision, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The specific treatment plan will depend on factors such as the size, location, and extent of the tumor, as well as the patient's overall health and individual preferences.


Surgery is the mainstay of treatment for SEF and involves the complete removal of the tumor. However, complete surgical excision of SEF can be challenging due to the tumor's tendency to infiltrate surrounding tissues. In some cases, amputation or limb-sparing surgery may be necessary to achieve complete removal of the tumor.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may be used in combination with surgery to treat SEF. It involves the use of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink the tumor. Radiation therapy may also be used as a palliative treatment to relieve pain and other symptoms in advanced cases.


Chemotherapy may be used to treat SEF that has spread to other parts of the body. However, SEF is typically resistant to chemotherapy, and its role in the treatment of this cancer is not well established.

Clinical trials

There is ongoing research into new treatments for SEF, and patients may be eligible to participate in clinical trials that test new drugs or therapies.

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